NHS: Negligence

Health written question – answered on 24th January 2008.

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Photo of Andrew Lansley Andrew Lansley Shadow Secretary of State for Health

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to paragraph 21, page 67 of his Department's resource accounts for 2006-07, on what basis his Department calculated the periods over which clinical negligence provisions are expected to be payable.

Photo of Ann Keen Ann Keen Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Health Services), Department of Health

All clinical negligence claims are managed and accounted for by the NHS Litigation Authority. In arriving at its valuation of provisions when constructing its own annual accounts the authority effectively reviews the value of individual reported claims against the national health service.

This review is part of the continuous legal process adopted by the authority and includes an assessment of the likely timing of settlement of each claim, ie the point at which any damages payable are likely to be agreed along with associated third party costs. For claims not yet reported but where the negligent incident is considered to have already occurred the authority makes a global incurred but not reported (IBNR) provision in its accounts. This IBNR provision is an actuarially assessed value based upon extensive data, held by the authority, relating to the level of reporting of negligent incidents within the English NHS.

The value of this IBNR provision is also subject to an assessment of likely timing both in regard to when the claims are likely to become reported but also when they are likely to settle.

Essentially the authority then combines the individual claims data for all known claims with the global IBNR calculation in order to arrive at a forecast regarding the future timing and value of the settlement of claims against the NHS and it is these results which are reported within paragraph 21 on page 67.

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